Sibling Cancer Survivors Inspire Diamond Ball Guests to Raise $2.5 Million for Nicklaus Children’s Hospital

Published on: 10/30/2023

On Saturday, October 28, hundreds of philanthropists and community leaders across South Florida gathered to celebrate the most anticipated gala of the season – the  2023 Diamond Ball – at Loews Miami Beach. The glittering event, benefiting Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and presented by Mario Murgado and Murgado Automotive Group raised $2.5 million and counting for Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. Cancer survivor siblings Kaylee, Keanu and Kassem Rodriguez took to the stage with their mom Ketty to share how Nicklaus Children’s saved their lives. Their story is a testament to the high-quality care the hospital provides, and the remarkable impact that donations can make on patient lives. 

The Roaring Twenties-themed event transported nearly 700 guests back in time and featured a special tribute to community leaders and philanthropists Bibiana and Mario Murgado, who were inducted into the Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame for their decades of service and support of children and families at Nicklaus Children’s and in South Florida. The event featured a live auction with one-of-a-kind experiences and patient stories to highlight the level of care provided at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.  

An evening of recognition and celebration, Nicklaus Children’s Dr. David Lowe was also honored as the 2023 recipient of the Excellence in Pediatric Medicine Award, voted by his colleagues. This is the highest honor given to a physician at Diamond Ball each year.  Nicklaus Children's Hospital Foundation Board Chair Peter Lopez also recognized Oscar and Ellen Feldenkreis for their leadership and support as this year's Diamond Ball Chairs. 

“The Diamond Ball is a beloved signature event in which we celebrate together with dedicated supporters who believe in creating a healthy future for every child just as passionately as we do,” said Matthew A. Love, President and CEO of Nicklaus Children’s Health System. “As we celebrate our 16th Annual Diamond Ball, we are thankful for our sponsors and the support of our community.  Together, they make it possible for us to provide exceptional care and resources to our patients and their families.” 

The event program was led by dynamic benefit auctioneers, Jason Alpert and Vallye Adams, alongside host Kristi Krueger, a three-time Emmy award-winning medical reporter and news anchor for Local 10 News. Following the program, guests enjoyed a dance party, hosted by DJ Laz with access to the VIP Speakeasy, sponsored by Ensemble Health Partners.  

Funds raised throughout the evening benefited the Kenneth C. Griffin Surgical Tower and continued investment in the hospital’s pediatric healthcare institutes for brain, heart, orthopedics, and cancer and blood disorders. The surgical tower will house state-of-the-art operating suites and the latest technologies in surgical care, along with multidisciplinary surgical teams required for complex cases.   

Celebrating its 16th year, the signature Nicklaus Children’s Diamond Ball gala continues a long-standing tradition of bringing together community members who are passionate about improving the health and well-being of children everywhere.  

This year’s Diamond Ball was made possible thanks to sponsorship from many community supporters: Mario Murgado & Murgado Automotive Group, Ensemble Health Partners, CNN en Español, City National Bank of Florida, The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, Badia Spices, Baptist Health, Brasfield & Gorrie, Kidz Medical Services, MBF Healthcare Partners, Perry Ellis International, Stearns Weaver Miller, Team Velocity, Navarro Discount Pharmacy®, Greenberg Traurig, HEICO Corporation, The Massirman Family & Rivergate Companies, West Coast University, BDO, Buchanan, CIT, Health Foundation of South Florida, Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Miami Marlins, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Commissioner Kevin Marino Cabrera Miami Dade County –District 6, Premia Global Advisors, PNC Bank, Coral Gables Magazine, Florida Weekly, Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Ocean Drive Magazine and Sun Sentinel Media Group. 


About Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Where Children Matter Most (2024)

Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with approximately 850 attending physicians, including more than 500 pediatric subspecialists. The 307-bed hospital, known as Miami Children’s Hospital from 1983 through 2014, is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and since 2003 has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession’s most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit www.nicklauschildrens.org.

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